*Photos by Nicola Muirhead
Home favourite Jermal Woolridge outskilled hulking kick-boxing opponent Joey Brozovich to end Teachers Fight Night XVI: Relentless in style on Saturday night.
In front of a sellout crowd at the Berkeley Institute, ‘Goofy’, as he is affectionately known, worked out his larger opponent in the first round before putting him down twice in the second.
The first came courtesy of a sharp right, while the second saw Bermuda Sanshou Association's (BSA) Woolridge unbalance Brozovich in the clinch before driving him to the canvas.
By this stage it was clear that Woolridge, a world silver medallist in wushu, was the quicker exponent.
Brozovich, from the MAS Academy of Martial Arts Training (MAS) in Canada, kept attacking but Woolridge's work was cleaner and more punishing and the overseas fighter soon needed his corner to wipe away blood from his nose.
In the third and final round, Woolridge, who won by judges' decision, expanded his repertoire of moves and, in particular, one vicious left side kick drew appreciative gasps from the crowd.
He followed that up with another left kick and a right upper cut before the game Brozovich required more attention to his bleeding nose.
Meanwhile, arguably the highlight of the evening was Corey Boyce’s bone-shuddering straight right, which ended the sixth fight of the 11-bout card.
The Bermuda Karate Institute (BKI) fighter took on BSA's Shannon Ford at heavyweight in one of the more brutal boxing match-ups of the night.
Boyce went on the attack in the first and a sweet right-left combination saw Ford get a standing eight-count, which he survived.
Far from deterred, though, Ford gave his all in the second and landed a big right.
But Boyce’s strength and stamina came to the fore in the final round when, with Ford backed into the ropes, he connected with a fearsome right to leave his opponent sparked out on the canvas and requiring the attention of the ringside doctor.
In the preceding bout, two more imposing heavyweights took to the ring as Justin Tucker, of Controversy Boxing Gym (CBG), and Coleman Mills of Forty’s Rego’s Gym, went head to head.
Mills caught the eye early on as he looked to take control, lining up his opposite number with his left before connecting with his right. Tucker was soon under pressure in the corner and was floored by a crisp shot.
Much to the delight of the increasingly-raucous crowd, after surviving the eight-count, back came Tucker with a flurry of punches that in turn forced Mills to take a count.
It was a thrilling second round but there was a sense it had taken more out of Tucker than Mills and so it proved as a crunching right by the latter ended an entertaining contest.
There was disappointment for Rego’s Andre Lambe as he came up against a force of nature in Nick Hoover, from the Fifth Round Academy in Canada, in their light-heavyweight boxing contest.
Lambe, looking to out-box his opponent, whose background lies in Muay Thai, simply found the streetwise Hoover too much.
In possibly the most impressive performance of the night, the braided Hoover swarmed the home fighter and refused to let him settle during his unanimous points win.
It was a breathless and intimidating bully-boy tactic, which saw the overseas man put Lambe in real trouble in the final round when he was forced to survive the referee’s count.
That fight was followed by three kick-boxing contests, with BSA’s Khalid Pitcher (MAS) beating Drew Geoghegan at welterweight and Rego’s Jashun Thomas seeing off Shamos Hamel (MAS) at lightweight.
In a women’s featherweight kick-boxing bout, BSA’s Talia Iris was outsmarted by Shelby Marchand, of Fifth Round. The Bermudian put her opponent down a number of times but Marchand was more efficient with her work — particularly with her knee blows in the clinch — and was awarded the decision.
Elsewhere, there was a win for youngster Kaelin Cox (BSA) over Anthony Williams in the first bout of the night.
Controversy’s plucky Neil Templeman showed plenty of heart in his super heavyweight clash against Jason Low (BSA) but had no answer to Lowe’s speed and superior mobility and the fight was stopped at the end of the first.
Adam Chevis (BAS) defeated Zubair Hasan (CBG) at heavyweight after Hasan was retired before coming out for the second round, much to the fighter’s apparent displeasure (he did press-ups in the ring to try to prove to his corner he was okay to fight on).
Callon Burns (CBG) took on Matthew Tannock (FRG) in an exhibition fight after both fighters’ scheduled opponents withdrew. Tannock impressed, finishing the fight with a stinging right in the second.